Do the surround channels really need equal power that's identical to the fronts?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Kevin Alexander, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    I was looking to save a little money by picking up a separate 3-channel amp to power my LCR speakers, while using my receiver's internal amps to power the 4 surround speakers. The external amp will be about 100X3 while the 4 surrounds will be 50X4 from the H/K 325. Is this acceptable since the surrounds are basically for effects? Or should I go ahead and spring for a 5 or 7 channel amp that will give me equal power all the way around? Will a volume mismatch occur if I use a 3-channel amp for the front and let the lower rated amplification in the receiver go to the rear? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure it's preferrable to have equal power but if you calibrate your speaker levels you're not going to have a volume mismatch. The only problem I guess would be if you really cranked it and the HK's amps couldn't keep up!
     
  3. MannyE

    MannyE Stunt Coordinator

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    The short answer is yes.

    Calibration should keep volume levels equal so there won't be any mismatch, but you will really be working with the limitations of your surround speakers and amp.

    If you really like to crank it, I see a day when you will over-extend the surrounds and may not notice that they are distorting and then boom...you need four new speakers.

    How do I know that? Don't ask. [​IMG]
     
  4. Paul Donovan

    Paul Donovan Auditioning

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    My understanding is that the "gain" has to be identical or you may hear some differences. My suggestion would be to buy a 7 channel amp or two identical 4 channel amps like HK which you can get on UBID usually or I assume even cheaper somewhere else. [​IMG]
     
  5. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Calibrating might be a little more difficult in this situation as you will be doubling your power supply to the fronts and center. This should produce a 3dB increase in volume here. Also, the amps power will sound cleaner and maybe even a little different. While H/K is excellent about their power ratings, you are still really going to be pushing the surrounds to keep up. If you can afford to go with more channels then I would suggest doing so. IMHO it will be well worth the extra cash. MM
     
  6. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Hard to tell how much he would push the HK without knowing the sensitivity and impedance of his speakers. If they are 99dB sensitiivity, 8 ohm Klipschs, then he'd be hard press to use 1 full watt.
     
  7. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Good point!
     
  8. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    And to add to what Ricky T said, unless you have full range surrounds you should have the crossover to the surrounds cut off below 80 Hz. Deep bass is by far the most demanding of an amp and 50 watts should be ample.

    Artie
     
  9. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    You may want to look into a SPL meter in determining on whether each speaker is putting out the same dbs at the reference level, which I believe is around 20 to 25 dbs. Having an amp put out 100 watts per channel is different from 50 watts per channel, but I think the db difference is not as profound as you think it is during moderate volume levels.
     

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